Children taking part in crusade

Nearly 100 children in Elkins are learning about God’s word and Christian values this week at the Church of God’s Hillbilly Kid’s Crusade. Activities kicked off on Sunday and run through the week until Wednesday, when a Hillbilly Block Party is scheduled for 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Church of God Lead Pastor Jamie Estep said several fun activities are planned each day to teach the kids lessons about God’s love and living right. He said the Kid’s Crusade is taking the place of this year’s Vacation Bible School.

Children’s Pastor Melinda Watson leads many of the “high spirited” activities, he said. Among the most popular skits on Sunday evening included a reenactment of the popular television reality show “Duck Dynasty.”

“We do a family-oriented format and this year we chose a hillbilly theme,” Estep said. “It’s worked very well for us. We have about 30 people involved and about 100 kids. We have a different lesson each night about the scripture found in the word of God.”

Estep said the children learn about various character building aspects including “not to steal” and “do the right thing,” among other good traits. The lesson is taught through various skits and games, among other activities.

“Each session we focus on something different,” Estep said. “We take drama and one section of the scripture and reinforce it through story telling and jokes. We are trying to build character and instill Christian elements in the kids lives.”

Estep said his favorite part of the week’s activities is watching the kid’s faith grow.

“I love seeing the smiles and the laughter,” Estep said. “It’s something special to see families laughing together. It’s something we don’t see enough of anymore.

“We are very passionate about the children’s ministry. It’s something that has driven my wife and I since we began in the ministry. Children are a major part of society and we want to reach the kids.”

Activities continue today, Tuesday and Wednesday, beginning at 7 p.m. daily. The block party scheduled for Wednesday will feature blow-up bounce houses and other fun activities for the children, along with games and prizes.

“We encourage the entire community to join us,” Estep said. “We want everyone to enjoy themselves and laugh a little.”

The Church of God is located at 1402 Taylor Street in Elkins.

For more information call the church at 304-636-6200.